Originally Posted by flyfishnevada
Then, last week my DW wondered about Oregon state income tax. She thought she'd seen something, but wanted to make sure. It turns out the paperwork was for property taxes so she called the Oregon Dept of Revenue and they informed her he hadn't filed since 1997!
Some quick figuring told us that with interest and penalties, that would wipe his estate out. Luckily, we finally talked to the enforcement division and by policy they only go back 4 years. That's still about $20,000, but better than what we were thinking.
Sorry to read about all of this. It's hard to peacefully work through the grief when the financial issues keep popping up.
My grandfather did something similar, although he only skipped four years of tax returns. Another option would be to do the state returns on your own to see if there were any refunds or other unclaimed credits in the first decade of unfiled returns. The theory is that the state already benefited from the foregone refunds/credits and wouldn't have the right to pile on penalties for unfiled returns in later years.
Unfortunately this is a huge research/time effort (on your own) or expense (hiring a CPA). At the sums you're seeing, this forensic math might cost more than the amount at stake.
Here's hoping you're all done with the probate surprises.